17th May 2013, 07:30
CELTS LOOK TO DOWN THE FALCONS
NORTH WALES CONFERENCE ROUND TWO PREVIEW ALSO WITH DEE VALLEY DRAGONS V WREXHAM BRADLEY RAIDERS
NORTH WALES CONFERENCE ROUND TWO PREVIEW
By Gary Baker
CONWY Celts get their North Wales Conference title defence off and running on Saturday and head coach Ray Caldwell insists they won't give up the crown easily.
Celts were without a game last week in the opening round of the Conference and they travel to Flintshire Falcons on Saturday (kick-off: 2pm) with the home side having already won this season after beating Dee Valley Dragons by just four points last Sunday.
Caldwell said, though, that such has been the interest in the game in Conwy since they won the Conference last August with a Grand Final victory over Rhyl and Prestatyn Panthers that their player numbers have been great and the carrot of a Wales A cap this season has them keen to get on with the season.
The coach said: “We are not looking too bad. We lost a few players for this weekend because there are a couple of cup final games but we look quite strong. A couple of lads are returning from university but we have a couple of young lads coming through who have not played the game before who we are looking at a run-out.
“With Flintshire beating Dee Valley last week, we are looking forward to the same which will be a tough physical game.
“With them playing the game last week, it is going to stand them in good stead. We had a friendly against Bangor a couple of weeks ago that was a real tough physical match.
“The lads are pretty keen. We have been known to be a slow team to get out of the blocks in matches and it is something we will focus on to get the boys starting well and compete for eighty minutes.
“Last year, it was a season of two halves so it is something we are looking at and getting right. We are looking at our defensive structure as well. There are a couple of lads chomping at the bit with the Coast v Country game coming up and hopefully getting a Wales A cap. That keeps players keen and the hunger there.
“The lads are up for it. We won't give the title up easily and the way that the season went last year we will have numbers here which will be a great headache to have.”
Dee Valley Dragons are aiming to bounce back from that defeat when they host Wrexham Bradley Raiders at Conwen on Sunday (kick-off: 2pm). The match was due to take place in Wrexham but problems with the council-owned pitch mean they won't be able to play there this weekend.
So the fixture has been reversed to give Dee Valley their second successive home match after their win over the Falcons last week. Their coach and chairman Mike Parry said: “The game last week saw us get a few injuries but we should be back to full strength for this. We expect Raiders to be a lot stronger than last year.
“We expected the same off Flintshire this year and we knew they were going to get a lot more stronger although we have still got a squad to finish in the top two or three.”
It will be Wrexham's first match this season and they are eyeing a win at the Dragons after defeats last year. The Raiders coach-chairman Steve Jones said: “The lads are well and truly up for it. It is a shame we have had to move the game though.
“Our lads want some serious revenge. We are looking better generally as the lads are doing a bit of fitness training now ready for the season.”